HoopsHype Steve Ballmer rumors

May 8, 2013 Updates

Mayor Kevin Johnson is so confident that the Kings are staying put, he's got some advice for the guys trying to buy the team and move it to Seattle: Back off. While saying he understands why they are putting up a fight, Johnson said Tuesday that hedge fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer should "take the high road and be gracious." Hansen and Ballmer have said they are still exploring their options after the NBA's relocation committee recommended by a 7-0 vote against their plan to move the Kings to the Emerald City. "Once the relocation committee spoke as loud and as clear as it did, I would probably take a step back and understand that I'm probably not going to get this team, so how can I put Seattle in the best possible position to get a team moving forward?" the mayor said. Sacramento Bee

May 7, 2013 Updates

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson says if he were leading the Seattle group trying to move the Sacramento Kings, he’d give up. The mayor says Seattle should focus on the next opportunity to get an NBA franchise, "Once the relocation committee spoke as loud and as clear as it did, I would probably take a step back and understand that I'm probably not going to get this team so how can I put Seattle, Ballmer, Hansen, the Nordstrom family and anybody else from Seattle in the best possible position to get a team going forward. I would take the high road and I'd be gracious." Capital Public Radio

May 3, 2013 Updates

Sacramento's bid would be a backup to the deal the Maloofs struck to sell the Kings to a Seattle investor group. Seattle's investors were dealt a serious setback Monday, when the NBA relocation committee voted 7-0 to recommend blocking the team's proposed relocation to the Pacific Northwest. The league hasn't yet ruled on the Seattle group's actual purchase, so the $357 million deal remains in place between the Maloofs and Seattle investors Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer. Sacramento Bee

April 29, 2013 Updates

In a unanimous vote of the league's combined Relocation and Finance committees Monday afternoon, 12 NBA owners recommended that the league's Board of Governors vote to deny the relocation of the Kings to Seattle — and, in doing so, deny the sale of the team from the Maloof Family to a Seattle-based group led by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. The recommendation will be taken up by the full Board for a formal vote the week of May 13. But it is almost certain that the full Board will go along with the recommendation and vote to keep the Kings in Sacramento, at least for another year. NBA.com

April 24, 2013 Updates

One league executive Tuesday described the commissioner as "anguishing" over the process that consists of competing offers for one team, proposals for new arenas in Sacramento and Seattle, and questions pertaining to the prudence and practicality of relocating an established incumbent franchise that sold out 19 of 28 seasons. It's unclear whether the Sacramento group, led by software tycoon Vivek Ranadive, satisfied Stern's request for more "details" regarding the counteroffer to the record-setting agreement the Maloofs signed with the Seattle-based group headed by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer. Sacramento Bee

April 14, 2013 Updates

The Sacramento contingent seeking to buy the Kings held back Saturday from delivering a counter to an increased bid for the franchise from Seattle, instead portraying the new offer as a move of desperation that is unlikely to sway the NBA's decision on which city will get the franchise. It remained unclear Saturday when the Sacramento group would file its own formal and written offer for the team - or whether that bid would match the new offer on the table from a Seattle contingent led by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer. A legal expert told The Bee that the NBA has the right to accept a lower offer. Sacramento Bee

April 13, 2013 Updates

NBA commissioner David Stern said the sale of the Sacramento Kings would not become a bidding war. Chris Hansen and the group seeking to purchase the Kings and move them to Seattle is making moves that prove otherwise. The Seattle group led by Hansen and Microsoft chairman Steve Ballmer announced Friday night they had reached agreement with the Maloof family to raise the purchase price of the Kings by $25 million to an NBA-record $550 million. In a statement on his website, Sonicsarena.com, Hansen said the group has voluntarily raised the purchase price as a sign of commitment in bringing the NBA back to Seattle. ESPN.com

April 12, 2013 Updates

Conversely, if the Seattle bid for majority ownership (a league-record $525 million valuation headed by Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer) is approved by the Board of Governors, then the minority stake surely would be approved as well. In essence, Johnson and his people have decided this subplot is not a factor at the moment and that they would prefer to react to the NBA's processes rather than follow through on their initial approach. It is a don't-sweat-the-small-stuff move that comes at a time when it seems increasingly possible that they might pull off the biggest of upsets. USA Today Sports

The Maloofs had been unwilling to make any deal with local investors who wanted to keep the team in Sacramento. But the family is now willing to sign a deal with the Sacramento group that would be an acceptable backup plan if the NBA rejects the sale of the team to the Seattle group, led by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. The match, the source said, would have to include the same $30 million non-refundable deposit that Hansen's group made as part of its offer to buy 65 percent of the Kings from the Maloofs. That would mean a franchise valuation of $525 million. NBA.com

This is a good problem to have for Stern and his successor, deputy commissioner Adam Silver. They clearly are smitten with the potential global impact that could come with Sacramento's lead investor, Indian software tycoon Vivek Ranadive, but might have a hard time denying Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and his deep pockets. Rumors of expansion as the potential solution to satisfy both sides persist, but Stern has said consistently it is not an option at the moment. The reality remains that one city will go home unhappy. The Sacramento group needs eight votes to block the agreed-upon deal that is in place with the Seattle investment group and the Maloof family that owns the team. The Sacramento group, headed by former NBA point guard and Mayor Kevin Johnson, hopes the board will accept its deal that is expected to match the Seattle group's. Whichever way this goes, Stern's final say will guide it. USA Today Sports

April 3, 2013 Updates

Hedge fund manager Chris Hansen outlined the financial terms, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer expressed Seattle's enthusiasm for bringing an NBA team back to the city and Sacramento Kings owner George Maloof Jr. "expressed strong support for moving forward with the deal that they've made with Chris Hansen," Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said. In a presentation on Wednesday to an NBA joint committee made up of owners and team representatives, the Seattle group made its formal to buy the Kings from the Maloof family, move the franchise to Seattle and rename the team the Seattle SuperSonics. USA Today Sports

March 30, 2013 Updates

Think I’'ll stick with what one league insider told me this week when asked about all of Johnson’'s efforts to assemble an ownership group to challenge the $525 million valuation of the franchise that the Maloof Brothers negotiated in their sale agreement to the Seattle group headed by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer: Sacramento is undeniably “gaining momentum” in terms of keeping the Kings. Reason being: All the recent signals emanating from New York, as one source aptly put it, describe how “really hard to call” this has all gotten. ESPN.com

That sentiment, though, also has to give Sactown hope, given how widely it was assumed heading into the All-Star break that the Kings were all but Seattle-bound already. The NBA Board of Governors will vote on the proposals from the two cities April 18-19 after the Sacramento counter offer is formally presented to league officials next week. ESPN.com

March 4, 2013 Updates
March 1, 2013 Updates

The proposed bid of 24-Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov and billionaire Ron Burkle to purchase the Sacramento Kings and construct a downtown arena has a chance to challenge a Seattle ownership's group to move the franchise. Mastrov and the local investors' bid is "slightly lower," than the $341 million that the Chris Hansen-Steve Ballmer group has agreed to pay for the available 65 percent of the Kings, a high-level source involved in the talks told Yahoo! Sports on Thursday night. "They have a shot," the source said. "It's still a long shot, but the bid will be close enough to cause real debate." Yahoo! Sports

While the amount of the Burkle and Mastrov bid was not revealed Thursday, the mayor said it would be "very strong and competitive." Seattle hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer have a binding agreement with the Maloof family to buy the Kings in a deal that values the franchise at $525 million, or about $341 million for the 65 percent they control. A source familiar with the Mastrov offer said it's expected that the NBA will look over the proposal and forward it to the Maloofs, who have the right to "entertain" other offers as backups in case the NBA rejects the Seattle bid. Beyond that, the process isn't quite clear. "It's not like there's a manual for how to do this," the source said. "This is somewhat unprecedented in the history of the league." Tacoma News Tribune

February 22, 2013 Updates

The Seattle contingency hoping to build a new arena and relocate the Sacramento Kings to the state of Washington received good news today in a King County Superior Court room. Judge Douglass North ruled in favor of the group led by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer, explaining that the lawsuit filed by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 19 was meritless at this time, while granting a dismissal of the case. The suit, which was filed under the state of Washington’s Environmental Policy Act, claimed that the Hansen-Ballmer group’s memorandum of understanding (MOU) to build a new arena in the SODO District of Seattle, constituted an agreement, which circumventing the environmental review process, including a mandatory environmental impact study (EIS). Behind the initial argument is the a concern by Local 19 on what they feel would be an adverse effect on traffic and cause additional environmental issues detrimental to the Port of Seattle. Cowbell Kingdom

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